Chapter 2

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Here's chapter two! Hope you enjoy!

*Elizabeth's P.O.V*

"Thank you, Lena. You may leave me now. I wish to be alone again." I tell my maid.

"As you wish, my lady." Lena says while curtsying before going to join the maids outside my room.

Finished with my makeup, I look over my list of what I have to do today. For the most part, I have 2 meetings that I have to attend while I find time for working on paperwork between them. I have a lunch date with Duchess Grey and I have to have dinner with Viscount Astley....ugh how fun. I need a plan to liven up dinner.

Well having lunch with Duchess Grey would be fun, everything else was terrible. I hated having to do paperwork and Viscount Astley always ended up ranting on and on. He has a way to make a moment feel like forever and not in a good way.

I had nearly nodded off once or twice in the middle of one of his rants but the advisor at the time kept nudging me every time I started to nod off. They also wouldn't just let me leave. They made me sit there and listen to him the entire time. I think that was one of the reasons that the advisor quit... something about the job being equivalent to taking care of a child. I don't really remember... Anyway, the Viscount is by no means a bad man, he is just boring and frankly, stuck in his old ways.

Standing up from my vanity, I walk over to the folding screen and step behind it. I slip my nightgown off, letting it drop to the floor. Normally my ladies-in-waitings would help me but it was the weekend. On the weekends, I like to have my days to myself when I can. It's one of my few peaceful moments.

I slip on my royal blue dress, finding the name kind of funny. The color was royal blue and I was a royal so was it royal royal blue or was it still just royal blue? And if I turn blue, do I turn royal blue? Royal blue in a royal blue dress... Something to ponder for another time. Normally I would wear petticoats underneath my dress but I did not feel like putting any on today.

I put my corset on over the dress, tightening it until I physically not tighten it anymore. My arms shake slightly as I tie it in the back, leaving some of the string loose as I step out from behind the screen. I step into my heels, stepping out behind the folding screen and leaving my room. The maids quickly curtsy as I exit my room.

"You may go in now. I probably won't be back until late so make sure someone is keeping an eye on the fire until then." I instruct them.

"Thank you, my lady. I will make sure it is done." I hear Lena say in reply.

I don't stop to continue the conversation and walk down the stairs, heading to the dining hall. I pause in the doorway when I see Duchess Grey already in the dining hall. I take a moment to gather myself before entering the dining hall, I move to greet Duchess Grey.

"Duchess Grey, it is lovely to see you. I was informed to expect you to come at lunch. Why are you here so early? Why was I not informed?" The questions hang in the air as she curtsies to me before standing straight.

"Are we done with the formality now, my sweet Elizabeth. No one is here to see us and you know how I feel about them when it comes to family. To answer your question, it is already lunch time, dear. I sent your maids to inform you because I couldn't find anyone else. My guess is you didn't let them help you dress by the way you look. Good heaven's, Beth, I keep telling you to put your ladies on a weekend rotation and stop giving them all off." she says as she leans forward, kissing both of my cheeks. I smile softly at the gesture and return it, feeling her arms wrap around me as she hugs me.

Duchess Grey had been a family friend of my parent's for as long as I could remember. I spent many nights at her estate and she was like a second mother to me. After I became queen, her support and guidance was invaluable. She has helped me through many rough nights and I wouldn't be here without her. That said, I wouldn't be a good "daughter" if I let her off that easily, now would I?

"I quite like the formalities, Duchess, so I would appreciate it if you would refer to me by my title and not by name." I tell her, working hard to keep my face neutral.

"Oh? Then should I tell the story of how her majesty came crying into my office because she had an accident after a pony chased her around trying to get to the carrot she refused to drop. If I remember correctly, I think her majesty's carrot was meant for the pony, too. Don't worry, I'll make sure to use your title plenty when telling it too." She tells me, smirking.

"I was 4... 4! And it wasn't meant for that pony... I wanted to give it to the new one. The one you got for me to ride..." I tell her, trying to defend myself.

"You were 5, not 4, but I doubt the servants will care either way." She tells me with a shrug before turning to go find someone to tell it to.

"Please don't... please..." I beg her, grabbing her arm to stop her.

"You know what to do... you know what you did wrong..." She tells me indifferently. After a moment, I sigh, defeated.

"I'm sorry I tried to use my higher position against you. You taught me better than that. I apologize for the disrespect I showed you, ma." I tell her.

I started calling her ma one day after she told me she misses the days I would run around calling her mama. I vaguely remember doing it... mainly times I was very upset. As I grew up, I just suddenly stopped one day. Probably because it's embarrassing to call someone mama when you are not a baby. I'm not too ashamed to call her ma though. Especially in private like this.

"Maybe they don't need to know this story then... not yet, at least. Come now, child, let's sit and eat so you can explain to mama why you lost another advisor so quickly... again..." she says with the practiced authority of a noble woman who spent her life instructing others. I also can't help but notice she has no problems calling herself mama. I wonder if she is trying to influence me...

"It's not worth the explanation, ma. He quit because he didn't want the job... that's all to it really." I tell her, earning a flick to my forehead that really hurt. She leans in close to my ear so only I can hear what she says as I rub the spot she flicked.

"It feels to me like you are trying to get your little bottom tanned today. The maids didn't stop your mama when you were a princess so don't think they will stop me now that you are queen." She whispers before standing back up with a look I know not to test.

I know she wouldn't actually spank me... well not here at least. I couldn't really tell you the last time I got spanked by her. I remember why but not when it was exactly. After struggling to sit for a week, you quickly learn not to test your mama's patience quite that far again.

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